Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Parque Natural de las Nieves / Tolox

The Natural Park of Las Nieves

Sierra de las Nieves nearby the village of TOLOX

In this post of our blog we try to give a description of a Natural Park situated east of the Ronda-Marbella road centering around its highest peak, Mount Torrecilla (1909 meters). There are a number of small villages like Tolox, Alozaina, Yunquera and El Burgo but otherwise the area is somewhat depopulated and therefore remain in a natural condition with an indigenous flora like pine, ash, chestnut, wild olive and oak trees as well as juniper. Having looked at the map we decided to enter the area by Tolox, a small village that could easily be reached from Fuengirola via Coin by route A366. More basic information of the area can be found in the  website.

Tolox is beautifully situated in the mountains.
A view from our hotel Cerro de Hijar.
Along route A355 towards Sierra de las Nieves.
TOLOX is a typical Andalucian white-washed small village with a limited population (2000+). It is said to bear a Phoenician name and it was occupied by Rome and later the Visigoths and Moors. When handed over to the catholic regime, according to Wikipedia, a large moorish peasant population stayed in the village and revolted in the 16th century against the christian landlords by throwing white powder on them.  Still today this is commemorated during the village carnival with the "Dia de los Polvos" when white powder is thrown at fellow citizens. We had the pleasure of having our son, Mathias, with his fiancée Anna joining us from our native Finland. This visit to Tolox was the first part of their week long visit to Andalucia. Unfortunately our daughter Ann-Sofie ("Affipuff") was not able to join us this time due to her busy schedule with her studies as she is finishing off her final thesis with a hurry. We missed her and hope to see her here very soon again. 

Hiking routes often follow mountain slopes.

Mathias in action.

This track was not difficult.

Our hotel was situated on the northern slopes above the village with a magnificent view over the mountains and the village itself. We checked-in and ordered a light lunch before setting off towards the 4 km long hiking track at Alto de la Cuesta - further up the hillside. Our "pretend-to-be" four wheel drive KIA took us up to the starting point where Mathias decided to climb the final stage to the very top in order to get a great shot over the whole area. Anna and I continued along the track that I had chalked out a few days earlier. Our time was limited due to the evening program so we had to limit our hike. The area had not had rain for some time so the drought affected the plants but we nevertheless could find interesting and for us unusual objects to photograph. The only animal / insect we could find in abundance was the dragon fly. Having said that, once we had reached Ronda, we spotted a number of eagles. Mrs. T counted up to 17 birds while the other team members watched in amazement.  The "pretend-to-be" four wheel drive KIA performed well (again) in the dusty and narrow road up the hill and back again but now the KIA needs a WASH!

Small palm trees among the pine trees.

The only animal / insect in abundance we could spot.

Do not forget to look up every now and then.
Mathias and Anna checking out the result of their work.

I decided to take with my macro lens in order to complement the nice landscape pictures we could take. Below some close-up objects that we identified and wanted to save in the camera's memory card. We then needed to return in order to experience the Andalucian hospitality of a private sauna bath with music of your choice and flashing "disco" lights. Just outside was a bubbling yacuzzi. We could all find place in the sauna but very soon the inventive Mrs. T  jumped out and grabbed her companion the pocket camera in order to use the video function on it. This video is yet to be released. If you are interested it is better consult the film director Mrs. T  about it. The three light weight team members could nicely fit in the yacuzzi but what happens when a moderately (!) overweight Mr. T jumps in? THE FLOOD IS ON! The body mass indeed pushed aside a fair amount of water on the terrass drenching Mrs. T´s bag and other things. Wonder what the villagers thought when the water mass hit their grounds down below? The CAVA we had, in sufficient amounts, was fantastic and created a lovely and relaxed feeling. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. It was a great evening with Mathias and Anna - thank you all.

The special light conditions in the mornings and evenings give opportunities for great shots. Below some to try to show you another side of Andalucia. The next day we continued our journey towards Ronda passing some of the villages I mentioned before. This road east of Ronda is fantastic and we had to stop several times to take pictures. We also had time to visit Puerto Banus but more about these events as well as the forthcoming trip to Morocco in the next blog spot(s).

Sunny spells in the evening.
A little later in the evening from our private "sauna party"
Early morning hours. GREAT shot by Mrs. T
View looking at a different direction.

What great two days with Mathias and Anna. Wish you, Ann-Sofie could have been with us!!!!!  Cheers!!!!

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